Dimensional Behavior of the Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor Fuel Element at Elevated Temperatures

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The Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor (EGCR) fuel assemblies consist of a cluster of seven fuel elements contained in a graphite sleeve. Each element is composed of hollow cylindrical UO/sub 2/ pellets encapsulated in a type 304 stainless steel tube. The dimensional behavior of the fuel element was determined in an apparatus which simulated the thermal conditions predicted for the EGCR. Particular emphasis was placed on determining the relationship between the fuel temperature and axial expansion, the radial expansion characteristics of the fuel, the effect of cladding and fuel interaction on heating and subsequent cooling, the effect of rapid temperature excursions on … continued below

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48 pages

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Martin, W. R. & Weir, J. R. August 1, 1961.

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Description

The Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor (EGCR) fuel assemblies consist of a cluster of seven fuel elements contained in a graphite sleeve. Each element is composed of hollow cylindrical UO/sub 2/ pellets encapsulated in a type 304 stainless steel tube. The dimensional behavior of the fuel element was determined in an apparatus which simulated the thermal conditions predicted for the EGCR. Particular emphasis was placed on determining the relationship between the fuel temperature and axial expansion, the radial expansion characteristics of the fuel, the effect of cladding and fuel interaction on heating and subsequent cooling, the effect of rapid temperature excursions on the degradation of the fuel, and accumulative effects in the fuel element due to thermal cycling. An element that contains a radial gap between the cladding and the fuel pellet was found to respond to thermal cycling in the same manner that the individual components would react if subjected to the same thermal conditions and tested separately. Both the axial and radial expansion of the fuel pellet are very nearly a function of the maximum central temperature. The axial expansion of the fuel pellet column can be reduced appreciably at elevated temperatures by "dishing" the ends of the pellets. The pellets fracture radially and circumferentially upon heating, but redistribution of the fuel does not occur. If no radial gap exists between the fuel and the cladding, the expansion characteristics of the element during thermal cycling are a function of the fuel temperature, cladding temperature, and the external pressure exerted on the ele ment by the coolant stream. Thermal cycling may introduce plastic axial strains intc the cladding depending upon the details of the temperature cycle and the pressure conditions. (auth)

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48 pages

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  • Other Information: Orig. Receipt Date: 31-DEC-61

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  • August 1, 1961

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Jan. 22, 2018, 7:23 a.m.

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  • Feb. 23, 2021, 2:29 p.m.

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Martin, W. R. & Weir, J. R. Dimensional Behavior of the Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor Fuel Element at Elevated Temperatures, report, August 1, 1961; Tennessee. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1057616/: accessed April 16, 2024), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.

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